Well I have decided to put myself out there as a ‘real’ photographer. I feel bizarre. Anyway if you would like to check out my new WEBSITE (oh man those things take AGES to put together, don’t they?!) I’m at kimclements.com.au. I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences. I have just stepped out of my comfort zone!
But only if its good light.
I finally decided to get myself some lights. I am only really able to do anything, unless someone is looking after my children, at night. Enough said. I had resisted getting lights because so many photos I see look ‘studioish’. You know what I mean. Hotspot here, too dark there, flat, shadow in distracting spot. The list goes on. I have no idea why I decided to become obsessed with photography? It must be the most complicated obsession around. Anyway, I set up my lights last night. I am interested in newborn portraits so I had a go. I didn’t have a newborn. I had to use a teddy. I also wasn’t happy with the placement of lights in the beginning. In the end I had one with a softbox facing the front of the bear and one without anything aimed at the ceiling, then used a reflector (balanced on my head due to lack of assistant!) to reduce the shadows I didn’t like and to introduce a catch light in the eyes. I had to use an ND filter as the lights were too bright for the space. Obviously this is going to need to be refined if it is going to be workable, but I am reasonably happy with my first effort.
Behold, the bear!
After all that concrete lying and nearly being trampled by a horse, the final photo didn’t quite turn out as I would have liked. Firstly there are people in the shot. If I had taken another shot with the same perspective I could have fixed it, but I didn’t. Noted and learned from. I wish I had held my nerve for slightly longer too. I thought the guy driving the tramway might think I was in the way so I tried to get out of the way before the hoof trod on my head.
Not too bad though. I changed it to a black and white shot to turn it into a sort of street photography feel. I felt it worked better with the people in the shot.
Recently I have been increasingly frustrated by my photographs.
I came upon this blog post by Otto von Münchow accidentally in my browsing about photographic vision and it dawned on me that my frustration is twofold.
Firstly, I am impatient at the gap between my creative mind and my photographic skill. My ability to manouvre and capture with my camera the images that I see in my head are worlds apart. There is little I can do about that except practise and take as many opportunities to try and try again in order to see improvement over time. I accept that. I am cutting myself a break. I have only been doing this since May. I can’t expect miracles.
Secondly, I have been taking opportunistic photos. I have my camera handy when possible and snap a quick photo here and there. The blog post, along with a comment that photographer and fellow blogger Mel Mann left for me asking me whether I felt that I had captured the feeling of air, made me think. YES, THINK. I really should have been thinking more often, earlier. I can only say that I am swept up in the rush of life with young children and that I am trying to fit everything in. But I can see upon reflection that my frustration was in the lack of intent in many of my photos. Looking back at many of them I see plenty of objects, but my favourites include images that tell a story. My children ‘hunting’ a shadow speaks of the imagination and fun of childhood, a couple in my photography class in an intimate moment supporting each other in their learning, even a flower in my garden showing the delicacy of its nature using light. All of these photos were taken with intent. I had a vision of what I wanted to show and tried to convey it in an image. Whether or not other people liked them is largely irrelevent to me because I am satisfied with them.
So it is my resolve to try (where possible – I am realistic and I know that I have limited time) more often to start with a vision and try to create it. I have no idea whether I am capable of that. I am sure the results will be highly varied in their success. I can only try. If I keep trying eventually I will get better at it.
As someone who is teaching themself photography, editing can be tricky. Photoshop is complicated and my general philosophy is try and try again until something works. I have definitely improved my editing since I started. I haven’t shared that aspect of my photography yet so I thought I would.
This is a before and after of a portrait photo I took at my photography class. I didn’t get many photos of this woman, I think it was about 10-15 and most of them were unusable, but we were supposed to print out the good ones to give to them and I wanted all of our models to have at least one photo because they made the effort to come in and put up with us for TWO HOURS! So I edited this one and here is the result. I was reasonably happy with the result, but because the original had no smile and I don’t know how to put one there from another photo it still ended up looking fairly severe.
What I did when editing this image:
change the levels and contrast
remove blemishes and even skin tone
smooth out skin
highlight the eyes
I am sure there is more that can be done, but I don’t know how…yet.
I would like to thank Ms Blog Tutorial and Mr Trial and Error for their support of my journey thus far.
I thought I would share with you a few photos from my first ever portrait session with someone other than my kids! It was part of my photography class. This is a friend of mine who was kind enough to donate her time and sit in front of bright lights and 15people with cameras for 2 hours in return for a few photos and eternal gratitude!! Thanks J.
I am happy with my first effort. Luckily she has said she doesn’t mind me practising on her again sometime. I am enjoying my journey.